During the two weeks since New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin (林書豪) went from benchwarmer to global superstar, a wave of “Lin-spired” food and drinks has flooded New York City menus.
Bars around Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play, are honoring the Taiwanese-American player with items like Lin-burgers and “Lings” — Asian-spiced chicken wings. Several bars have concocted “Lintinis,” while the Shake Shack chain is offering a “Jeremy Lin-Mint,” a chocolate and mint cookie milkshake. And BaoHaus, a restaurant near Union Square serving Taiwanese-style dumplings, began selling one stuffed with a curry-spiked pork chop, pickled radish, carrots and cilantro, a typical Taiwanese preparation.
“Being Asian, we’re really excited about it,” said Eddie Huang, a Taiwanese-American chef and hardcore Knicks fan whose restaurant walls are plastered with a shrine to Lin. “We feel a responsibility any time things are happening in the Taiwanese community to react, whether it’s in the blog or the menu. It’s a great opportunity to educate people about our food, our people.”
Huang calls the new sandwich the “Taiwanese Te-Bao,” a reference to Lin’s devout Christianity and a play on the name of another high-profile Christian athlete, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Lin had already been dumped this season by two teams, Golden State and Houston, before being picked up by New York in December. With the Knicks stumbling to an 8-15 start and in desperate need of a spark, coach Mike D’Antoni gave Lin a chance — and the team hasn’t looked back. The Knicks have now climbed back into the playoff race in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, with Lin directing the offense and doing whatever it takes to win. He put up 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, sunk a game-winning three-pointer against Toronto and had 13 assists in a win over Sacramento this week.
Thus began Linsanity.
Arctica Bar and Grill in the Murray Hill neighborhood colors their “Lintini” blue and orange — Knicks colors — with a dash of blue Curacao and an orange garnish. Ditto for their Lin and Tonic. Feile, a restaurant near Madison Square Garden, concocts a Lintini with Absolut Wild Tea Vodka. At the outskirts of Greenwich Village, Snap Sports Bar hosts an hour-long open bar — read free drinks — after every Knicks win.
“It’s getting a lot of Knicks fans into the room,” said co-owner Jordan Harris, whose bar introduced the Asian-inspired wings called “Lings” a couple of games ago. “People like open bars.”
On Friday, Feile was launching a Lin Burger, a pork burger spiked with five-spice seasoning and topped with Asian slaw. The pub also recently introduced “Yanling” — make that Yanjing — Beer, said manager Lauren Liberman, laughing as she stumbled over the beer’s name.
Stout, another bar across the street from the Garden, has also added Yanjing to its lineup.
“It’s not a beer we usually carry,” Stout manager Bonnie Rozales said. “We’re just bringing it in in honor of Mr Lin.”
Join the club. Since Lin burst onto the scene, the number of New York bars serving Yanjing has more than doubled to 340, said Mike Burmil, general sales manager at SKI Beer, the lager’s area distributor.
“Our sales had been mediocre at best, and over the past couple of weeks it’s just exploded,” Burmil said.